“You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you demand.”
–Dianne Bennett, a 7th grade dropout who became six-figure woman.

More than half of the 1000 women polled by Pink Magazine and KPMG in 2006 felt they are not fairly compensated for their work.  But here’s my question. How many of them actually asked for more money? My guess, not many.

A salary offer is not a foregone conclusion. Ninety percent of Human Resource professionals polled expect salaries to be negotiated. Overcoming underearning requires you take a stand, ask for what you want, negotiate until you reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, or walk away where appropriate.

Here’s some suggestions for negotiating effectively.

  • Know what you want. Research the going rates in your field. Ask the high end of the spectrum. You can always negotiate down, but never up.
  • “No” means “not now.”
  • Negotiate salary only after a job offer. Don’t be the first to bring it up. “Make them fall in love with you before talking money.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/29/04)
  • Negotiate more than money: early salary review, signing bonus, relocation costs, profit sharing, flexible schedule, paid time off, benefits, perks, educational programs, expense account, club memberships, bigger office, laptop, cell phone, job title.
  • Act confident (even if you don’t feel it). Communicate with authority. Perceived confidence has a big impact.
  • Request 24 to 72 hours to think over the offer.
  • Always start negotiations on a positive note. For example, thank the employer for the opportunity and make a counter offer.
  • If someone acts put off by a reasonable counter offer, consider it a red flag. Perhaps the employer doesn’t value what you bring to the table.
  • The best time to negotiate, or renegotiate, is when you have other offers.
  • Get the offer in writing.
  • Above all, focus on relationship building. “It’s always harder for someone to say ‘no’ if they know you and like you.” (www.WallStreetJournal.com)
  • Practice negotiating with a friend or in the mirror. Have points prepared, build a case, around your value and what you bring to the company.